Cavaliers are known for their beautiful coats. You want to keep your Cavalier looking his best, but is a haircut or a shave for the summer really a good idea?
Don’t Shave Show Dogs!
In the United States, the Cavalier King Charles Club USA, Inc. specifies that “NO trimming of the dog is permitted. However, it is permissible, and often desirable, to remove the hair growing between the pads on the underside of the foot.” Trimming hair between your pet’s pads can prevent slipping or problems walking.
If your Cavalier King Charles has no championship aspirations, however, you are free to ignore Kennel Club rules and regulations. But consider the following before deciding to trim, clip or shave your Cavalier Spaniel.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a “Double Coated” Breed
Dog breeds may be described as single-coated or double-coated. Double-coated Cavalier Spaniels have both a topcoat of longer guard hairs as well as a soft, thicker undercoat.
Without shedding, your dog’s undercoat can become so matted that it prevents air from reaching your dog’s skin. As the weather turns warmer, rake your Cavalier’s undercoat with a deshedding tool to clear out the thickness of your dog’s undercoat. When the undercoat is thinned out, air circulates more freely between the hairs of the top coat, and keeps your Cavalier cooler.
Should you shave your Cavalier for the summer?
Clipping or shaving a Cavalier’s coat might seem like the best approach to keeping your dog cool, BUT…
- The longer topcoat hairs actually insulate your dog’s skin from the heat and sun.
- Your pet’s topcoat provides a water shield, keeping the skin and undercoat dry.
- The topcoat also provides protection against mosquitoes and other insects.
In short, clipping your Cavalier’s coat short may actually increase the risk of sunburn and overheating – the opposite of what you intend!
If I shave my Cavalier, will his fur grow back thicker and curlier?
What if your Cavalier’s coat must be shaved (e.g. for a medical procedure or due to a skin condition)? Remember that shaving removes your Cavalier’s natural safeguard against heat and sun. Limit your dog’s exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures if his coat has been shaved. Read our post on How to Avoid Heat Stroke to be alert to signs that your dog has become overheated.
As your Cavalier King Charles’ coat grows back, many pet owners find that their Cavalier’s coat seems much thicker and curlier than it did before. This is because the silkier guard hairs of the top coat take much longer to grow back than does your Cavalier’s furry undercoat. Time, patience and regular grooming should eventually help return your dog’s coat to its original texture, though there is some chance that top hairs do not always regrow on older dogs.